Long-Term Contract Possible for Blue Jays’ Aaron Sanchez
Following the 2015 season, there were a few Doubtin’ Thomases out there about Aaron Sanchez. I was one of them.
But Sanchez sure has changed people’s opinions with what he has done in 2016 with a 9-1 record after he put on some beef in the off-season. That fastball, tantalizing curveball and slider have driven him to elite status, so much so that he might be invited to the all-star game next week.
Not only that, if Sanchez keeps it up, he will likely convince the Blue Jays to give him a long-term contract prior to next season. It’s a dilemma for the Blue Jays but it’s a good one.
It’s unfathomable to think Sanchez could double his 9-win output in the next few months but the Jays will have to think hard about not low-balling him next winter because he’s a non-arbitration-eligible player with little leverage in normal negotiations.
Sanchez isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2018 but if he keeps producing like he has done in the first few months this season, the Jays will have no recourse but to give him a long-term contract to reward him.
If they really want to, the Jays might choose not give him a multi-year deal. Instead, they could just give him a modest raise of about $20,000 and then talk a bigger contract the winter of 2017-18. Sanchez is earning $517,800 this season and the way the Jays deal with younger players, the raise for Sanchez next winter would be minimal — up to around $540,000.
But if the Jays were smart, they would foster good relations with Sanchez by giving him a nice deal this coming winter. Give him, let’s say, $650,000 for 2017 and then $3.5-million for 2018 and $4-million for $2019, assuming he keeps up solid numbers. These are salary projections based on my knowledge of how these kinds of contracts play out for younger players.
This is all hypothetical. Sanchez has to keep going strong until the end of the season. If he slips to let’s say 14-12 or something along those lines, then maybe the club wouldn’t want to do a multi-year deal. But if he went 16-6 or something like that, then the game changes.
We only hope Sanchez keeps it up. What he has done shows that he’s almost as good or just as good as Syndergaard.